The Pixel 3’s Call Quality Bugs Just Won’t Go Away

The Pixel 3 is back in the headlines — and once again, it’s not for the sort of reasons Google would probably prefer.

Google’s Issue Tracker is currently full of reports from Pixel 3 and 3 XL owners regarding call quality problems for both handsets. Not for the caller, mind you — but rather, for the person on the other end of the line.

It turns out that some Pixel 3 users are being told that their voice is coming through inconsistently when talking on the phone. What’s more, the specific symptoms are wide-ranging and appear to vary on a case-by-case basis. Some individuals are complaining of tinny, quiet audio, while others say the issues are more overt and manifest themselves as crackling noises and static — and others still are dealing with nonexistent audio entirely.

"Almost every call, the other person complains they can't hear me," one Pixel 3 owner stated in a post on the Issue Tracker thread dated Feb. 24. "It lasts for a few seconds and the voice comes back, but it is very frustrating to still have this issue months after the phone has been released."

The complaints actually date back to the devices’ launch, but have increased in frequency since February, according to Android Authority. Last week, the issue was raised to Priority and Severity level 1, a designation Google gives to the most urgent problems afflicting their products and services.

For some individuals, switching to LTE-only service has put a stop to the audio annoyances. Others have noticed the problem disappear after switching carriers and many say that the glitches are typically limited to using the phone’s built-in microphone, but don’t exist when speaking through a Bluetooth headset or the phone’s wired pack-in Pixel Buds.

Because the call quality glitches facing users aren’t identical across the board, and because many of those affected are citing various kinds of fixes that don’t appear to be working for everyone, it’s been difficult to pin down the culprit. That would indicate there are actually many different bugs at play here that Google needs to stamp out, but the phone maker hasn’t been able to offer any widely effective resolution — even after the Pixel 3 has been on the market for almost six months, and even after the company released a sizable update to fix a swath of issues with the Pixel 3 earlier in March.

We’ve made various calls on our in-house Pixel 3 to date and — save for one instance last week — haven’t faced any audio strangeness. In the aforementioned case, neither the Pixel 3 user nor respondent could hear each other at all. A second attempt at the call went flawlessly.

Of course, this is far from the first issue afflicting the Pixel 3 since the handset released in October. Some units failed to save photos captured with the camera, and a few XL handsets out in the wild even sprouted multiple notches. Google has slowly rectified many of them, but some — like the voice call gremlins — still remain.

Now that Google has sounded the alarm bells and raised the issue to the utmost significance, we’re holding out hope that it’ll be rectified soon. If you’ve encountered anything like what’s been described, be sure to add your experience to the Issue Tracker thread and sound off here on the Tom’s Guide forums. We’ve reached out to Google for an official response and will surely update this story should we hear back.

Credit: Tom's Guide

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.